If you visit a farmers’ market, you’ll often find beets sold with the greens still attached. It may seem like those leafy bits are just adding weight on the scale, but they’re great quickly wilted down, as in this pasta dish.

Game plan: If you buy beet greens that are still attached to the beetroots, be sure to cut the greens off as soon as you get home or they will pull the water from the roots, causing the beets to shrivel.

When cooking the greens, you probably won’t be able to fit them into the pan all at once. Add as many as will fit, let them wilt slightly, then add a few more until they are all in the pan.

This recipe was featured as part of our Cooking with Winter Ingredients photo gallery.

  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 15 mins 

Ingredients (8)

  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds beet greens, washed, ribs removed, and coarsely chopped (about 11 cups)
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 5 ounces crumbled feta (about 3/4 cup)


  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When shimmering, add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the vegetables are translucent, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the beet greens and cook until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, remove from heat, and reserve. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  3. Return the pasta to the pot and place over low heat. Add the reserved pasta water and the beet green mixture, then sprinkle in the crumbled feta. Stir until thoroughly combined and heated through. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Beverage pairing: Mancini Vermentino di Gallura, Italy. Strong flavors of greens, salt, and sharp cheese need a white wine that can hold its own. Vermentino from the island of Sardinia matches the pasta note for note while bringing citrus and dried herb flavors to the occasion.